Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A-Z PROJECT: #295-314

315 days ago I started listening to all of my CDs in alphabetic order to see if I could do it. I found myself bored with what I was listening to and spending more and more time deciding on what to listen to. I realized I had a lot of CDs I never listened to, stuff I never had the urge to put on, and decided to just listen to all of them in order instead. My goal was to listen to everything in a year, or at least to see how long it would take me to accomplish this. I don’t consider myself to be a writer, a music critic or an authority on music. I'm well aware of the fact that I contradict myself often. This is simply a way to alleviate boredom at a job in which very little is expected out of me. I’m also not posting these playlists to brag about my music collection and I’m not burning copies of this stuff for people, so don’t ask.

(*) asterisks note things that are burned copies and not an original release. CDRs without asterisks behind them were originally issued as CDRs.

Day #295
VON LMO - "Future Language" CD (From the NY no wave scene comes this weirdo sci-fi punk oddity from 1981. It took me years to track down a copy of this CD, but I finally got my hands on one. Ever wished that Devo played heavy metal and had a saxophone player in the band? Me neither, but one could make the comparison. I'm of the opinion almost every band would be improved with the addition of sax. The production is really raw and immediate and the bass guitar sounds like it's trying to wrestle it's way out of the speakers to punch the listener in the face. The lyrics are silly and the songs are a little too long, but this is a fun album.)

WADGE - "Double-Take Hawai'ian Style Original Motion Picture Soundtrack" CD (I love it when bands make a mockery of grindcore and take it down a notch. It's even better when it's played done as well as this. Let's face it, grindcore is sillly. It always has been, but somehow screaming about Don Knotts and cannibals in between interludes of traditional Hawai'ian music is less silly than pretending to be angry and singing about desecrating corpses, etc all the time. Paul/Wadge really knows his shit, though, and if you didn't pay attention to the lyrics at all you'd be crushed by his grinding mayhem, thrash riffs, crust riffs and blasts of pure noise. His releases are always mastered to the point of complete saturation, too, so it sounds extreme at any volume. This CD is great, I'm glad people are still releasing his stuff.)

WADGE - "The Road to Hana" CD (My friend Hagamoto urged me to buy this when I saw it in Minneapolis years ago, but I bought a Mesrine CD instead. I spent a great deal of effort trying to find a reasonably priced copy of it after that. This one is angrier sounding, less noisy than the above disc and the production is even muddier. There's some guest vocal spots by underground superstars, but Paul's vox are by far the most intense. Again, solid release.)

THE WAILERS - "Livewire!!!" CD (The "Nuggets" box set brought me to The Wailers, but I soon learned I knew some of their songs already as a result of The Mummies covering them. If you're familiar with The Mummies, you know their brand of juvenile garage rock. This 1965 album from The Wailers is the real deal, though: noisy, raw and rockin'. It was The Wailers label that signed The Sonics and the style is similar, but nowhere near as over the top. I don't listen to this very often. When I'm in the mood for this stuff I always grab The Mummies and Sonics first and that usually satisfies that craving before I move on to this stuff.)

TOL WAITS - "Nighthawks at the Diner" CD (My friend Mike dubbed me a copy if this in high school. I liked it enough to pick it up on CD, but I really haven't listened to many of his other releases. Listening to this today I can't figure out what I ever liked about it. I really don't give a shit about beatnik poetry or jazz ruined by beatnik poetry. This shit's annoying.)

WAKE UP ON FIRE - s/t CD (I'm really not into this kind of shit. This sounds like Remains of the Day, who I also don't care for. The only band of this "epic" dark moody style I ever liked was Dystopia, and even they don't really sound like this. Rather than talk shit about them, I'll just shut up and listen to it, but this really is a load of shit.)

WALLENSTEIN - "Blitzkrieg" CD (I made a lot of blind krautrock purchases years ago, some of which ended up being great. My jaw dropped when I heard this the first time. The opening track, "Lunetic", is a dizzying 12 minutes of electric piano runs over progressive rock with lots of hard accents. The piano is awesome, sounds like a harpsichord in some weird hybrid of Mozart and Deep Purple. The rest of the album is kind of tame in comparison to that opening track, but is well played progressive rock in the vein of King Crimson's late 60s recordings, maybe some Pink Floyd thrown in, but with more of a rock edge.)

WALLENSTEIN - "Cosmic Century" CD (Based on the strength of their debut I bought this one. Boy, what s let down. The addition of strings gives this somewhat of a Mahavishnu Orchestra-like feel, but in conjunction with the synth and electronic piano it often sounds like cheesy 70s almost-disco music. The vocals are more Teutonic sounding this time around and sound more like the guy from Mythos than Greg Lake like on "Blitzkrieg". This one stinks compared to the first. The last song is pretty good, but it sounds exactly like Pink Floyd, so...)

THE WANKYS - "American Wank" CD (It's my understanding that these UK blokes are trying their hardest to sound like the Swankys, a Japanese HC band from the 80s. I'm not really all that familiar with the Swankys, so I couldn't say for sure, but why the parody? A lot of my CDs I own because I had copies for distro and nobody bought them from me, so keeping one for myself meant one less copy to sell. I don't know if the selection of CDs today is putting me in a bad mood or my bad mood is preventing me from enjoying the music, but this shit is irritating. Being genuinely sloppy is one thing, but being stupid and sloppy to ape another band's sound is an entirely different thing. Their stupid, paper-thin guitar sound is giving me a headache, too. As far as I'm concerned, The Wankys are shit. They'd probably derive pleasure from seeing this, but I'm well versed in shit and I usually enjoy terrible music. This is the worst kind of shit, though. I fucking hate this CD.)

WARHORSE - "As Heaven Turns to Ash" CD (This is pretty good. It sounds like a mixture of a less stupid version of Ohio's Sloth and Cathedral's first album.)

WARSAW - "1977-1978 Warsaw" CD (This is probably a bootleg, but it looks official. It's released on some Portuguese label I've never heard of before, but the booklet had decent liner notes, etc. Warsaw changed their name to Joy Division and found fame. Their oldest songs were more punk sounding.)

Day #296
WARSORE - "Discography" CDR* (I was supposed to release this years ago, but it was a complicated mess. One of the members told me I could do it, but he also told Otto from Psychotherapy he could do it without letting me know. Neither of us bowed out, so we proposed a co-release, but Otto had just released the "Brutal Reprisal" 7" at that point and didn't want it on the CD unless we packaged and sold the CD and 7" together splitting the cost for both the vinyl and CD. There's no way I was going to do that, so I just backed out of it and let him have it. The other problem was tracking down the master recordings. Erik, the drummer, did all of their recordings and presumably had all of the masters, but he moved to Japan in 2000 and nobody heard from him again. I ripped all of the material I had an compiled this master disc until something turned up, but it never happened. Years later, sadly, we learned that Erik had committed suicide, so the masters were lost with him. I stayed with Paul/Warsore for a couple of weeks right before Erik moved to Japan, in fact, Paul dropped both of us off at the airport at the same time, so I assume that was the last time Paul saw him, too. I found Erik in my limited exposure to him to be a funny but strange guy. I had a difficult time discerning his joking around being serious, but he seemed really nice. Anyway, turns out Otto didn't release it either and for the longest time the only Warsore material in print were those shitty live CDs ("Re-Opened Wound" and "Sweet Revenge"). Blastasfuk finally made good and did a 2CD discography recently. I haven't heard it yet, but it's my understanding that he used some of my rips from this CD I sent him as the masters were gone. I'm glad this stuff ended up being released on an Aussie label, as it should have been. Roby's a good guy, he loved Warsore.)

WARSORE - "Re-Opened Wound" CD (This one starts out with the great "Open Wound" demo, then dissolves into mostly crummy sounding demo and live stuff. There's some songs on here I haven't heard before, though, sounds like they even had a different vocalist. I learned recently there was another demo before "Open Wound", so I'm wondering if that's what those songs are. It's difficult to say as the liner notes really don't give any details at all. My frustration with release lies not in the material itself, but instead in the fact that for years this was the only Warsore material available. I've heard bootlegs that sound better than this, Warsore deserves better.)

WARSORE - "Sweet Revenge" CD (The same lack of quality applies to this release. Again, no fault of the band or label, but this stuff really didn't need to be put on CD in the first place. Instead of repeating my complaints, I'll just talk about my experience with the band. I think it was Witter from Decomposing Serenity that brought Warsore to my attention. He sent me a copy of their demo and told me Paul was a cool guy and I should write him. Witter was right, Paul was super nice. We exchanged a lot of letters in a short time and they were always long and friendly. He had nothing to gain by being a nice guy. At that point I hadn't started doing Mortville, but Warsore's music and Paul's letters were why I started doing the label. After I released the Warsore / Nee! split 7" we continued to write each other, planned releases that never happened, and in 2000 I flew to Australia to hang out with Paul for a couple of weeks. He was hospitable, polite, generous and fun to be around. The rest of the band members were nice, too, especially Mark. Den had gotten the boot at that point and they were working in a new singer, Beau. I not only got to watch them rehearse, but I saw their first show with Beau on vocals, too. Everyone I met in Australia on that trip was super nice to me and I ended up releasing four records from people I met. Once Warsore's drummer, Erik, moved to Japan and I returned to the states Paul and I exchanged a couple of letters then lost contact with each other. It's happened several times after that with other bands, but our friendship was based on music. Once Warsore broke up and Paul stopped making music we had nothing to talk about. I didn't hear from him again until Erik died and he emailed me to see if I had any details. That was the last I heard from him and it's always bummed me out that our friendship ended like that. Last I knew he was living in the states and I've never once seen him. I still get email and letters from Mark every now and then. It seems he picked up the slack once everyone else dropped out concerning Warsore.)

WASTEOID - "Total Pukeoid" CDR* (Raws sent me a copy of this before it was released. I think we started writing each other when he ordered the POTL / NOISEAR split 7" from me. He sent me their demo and a track for a compilation I was planning but never released. We still talk to each other on Facebook and when I catch his shows in Iowa. Wasteoid were great band, really noisy and chaotic with twin vocals that covered both ends of the spectrum. The high vocals are particularly squeaky and annoying, but in a good way. It's the kind of music that sounds like it could fall apart at any moment, like everyone is just blasting away and somehow it just manages to stay together. The samples between songs are all goofy, the same kind of samples I look for, and break things up nicely. This is a fun 19 minutes. I need to listen to their other stuff again, now.)

W.B.I. - "Alcoholic Birth" MCD (This German pioneering noisecore band's final release is way more structured than their earlier releases. It was a gradual progression, but the "music" has almost taken over completely on this release. The musical intros are longer, but still mostly silly, and those noise blasts are insanely fast, maybe the faster than any grind band ever. This CD is great. When I was in Japan years ago visiting my friend Hagamoto I met a guy named "Norris" who fucking loved W.B.I.. Within minutes of our first meeting he pulled out his copy of "Alcoholic Birth" and pointed out his name in the thanks list. I was seriously impressed, no joke. A few days later we had what seemed like an hour long conversation outside of a Deride concert consisting entirely of naming noisecore bands back and forth, then laughing. He barely spoke any English, I spoke no Japanese, but we were connected through noise. Through Hagamoto's translation I learned that the cover of the Barcass / Sterbehilfe - split 7" was pop-up if you cut and folded it properly. He sent me pictures when I returned home, a man of his word. I always think of "Norris" when I listen to this CD.)

W.B.I. - "Inferno Grindnoise" CDR (Another gem from the Tomas Canceras label, Bolivian bootleg masters. This collects their all/most of their vinyl releases. I don't have the CD in front of me to reference right now, but I seem to remember at least one of their releases being absent. Along with B.G.T., W.B.I. were one of their earliest German noisecore bands. They pretty much just expanded on the Anal Cunt style of noisecore by adding musical intros, but that alone defines German noisecore, for me anyway. With the exception of their split 7" w/ Cripple Bastards, I had all of this stuff on vinyl already. I'm beginning to think I'll never find a copy of that thing.)

WALTER WEGMÜLLER - "Tarot" 2CD (Essentially this is an Ash Ra Tempel album as it was recorded during the same session as their "Join Inn" album. I'm not sure who Walter Wegmüller is, exactly. I know he's a painter and the original LP version of this came with a set of tarot cards he painted, but I'm not sure what he contributed to this recording, if anything, but if I had to guess it would be vocals. This was out of circulation forever until Spalax did this 2CD reissue years ago. If you're a fan of Ash Ra Tempel, Cosmic Jokers, etc, you'll probably like this, too. This is some spaced-out jam rock stuff, total drug music. The synth noises get really abrasive at times and the vocals are out of place and distracting, to the same effect Sergius Golowin had when he collaborated with Ash Ra Tempel, but most of the time I was able to just tune them out. Luckily, the second disc is mostly instrumental and more mellow than the first. At times it sounds like the first couple of Funkadelic albums. This is a great example of the more cosmic side of krautrock.)

WEHRMACHT - "Biermächt / Shark Attack" CDR* (I have "Biermächt" on vinyl and "Shark Attack" on cassette (kvlt?), so I didn't feel bad at all burning copies of my friend's CDs. One of the greatest unsung thrash metal bands ever. If these guys were on a bigger label they would have killed most of the competition, but they're largely unknown. This shit's fast as hell, tough as nails and with a healthy sense of humor. It's too bad the production of their first album doesn't match that of their second, though. Shit sounds rough...)

WHIPLASH - "Power and Pain / Ticket to Mayhem" CD (I didn't get to hear these guys until a few years ago, about the same time I checked out Sadus. When I first heard "Power and Pain" I racked my brain trying to figure out who it reminded me of before I finally figured out it was "Bonded by Blood" era Exodus. The guy even sings like Paul Baloff, same cheesy lyrics, too. This first album is awesome, I wish I had heard it sooner. Their second album is technically better, much faster and still really solid speed metal, but not as fun as their first. It's wholly enjoyable on it's own, just pales in comparison to their debut.)

WHITE CROSS - "Deaf, Dumb and Blind" CD (I bought this CD for the "Fascist" EP tracks. If you haven't heard it, you should. It's some of the most intense USHC ever recorded. Sadly, the rest of the output from this Virginian band is pretty slow and, well, weak. This CD has their 7", LP, the unreleased 2nd LP and live tracks. Sucks when a band peaks with their first release, but this is worth picking up for those 8 songs alone. The rest of it is okay, too, I guess. One of these guys went on to Gwar after they broke up.)

Day #297
WHITE CROSS - "Fascist" EP, "Deaf, Dumb and Blind" 12" + "What's Goin' On?" 12" CDR* (I suppose I can throw away this CDR now that I bought the above CD. Listening to this again I detected some early Hüsker Dü in their sound I didn't hear yesterday.)

WHITE FLAG - "R is for Rocket, U is for Unreleased" CD (I love White Flag, almost as much as Black Flag. They were a hardcore punk band that dressed like Mötley Crüe and sang the praises of Ronald Reagan and Christianity. I've always loved bands that pushed people's buttons like that. The booklet says they sent this to the label as a demo, half of the songs improvised, and the label pressed it to vinyl because they thought it was the finished product. Oops! The original LP is super rare, but it wasn't even supposed to have happened. There's heaps of bonus stuff on here, including an early live show and an interview that's pretty funny. Some of these clips ended up on their next LP, "S is for Space". This is great loud & sarcastic hardcore played by a bunch of smart asses.)

WHITE FLAG - "Step Back 10" CD (This CD collects the entire "Third Strike" LP, the "S is for Space" LP, a few of the tracks from "R is for Rocket" and some other stuff.They really got their shit together between the first album and the stuff on this disc. Still the same energetic snotty HC, but tighter and faster.)

Day #300
WHITE PIGS - s/t 7", NIHILISTICS - "My Dog He Licks Me + Filthy New York" 7", NIHILISTICS - "Inferno" 12", FEAR - "Eugene, OR 8/17/82" CDR* (A full 80 minutes of dirty scumbag punk from the 80s. This White Pigs 7" is awesome, really scummy, sloppy and thick-headed. It's the only release of theirs I've heard, but I guess they turned into a metal band after this. This Nihilistics stuff is silly, but okay. It doesn't touch their first couple of releases, but it's pretty good. The Fear set sounds great, really fast and angry. There's even a few songs on here that aren't on either of their albums.)

WHORE - "Doing it for the Kids" CD (It's always been hush-hush about who's in this band, but it's probably some of the same dudes from Fornicator who I suspect were also in Engorged. The vocalist of both Fornicator and Whore used to be in a grind band called Murder Basket that were pretty terrific. Whore is the most recent of Rob's bands and they're supremely grimey. It's the same sort of hate-filled, sleazy stuff Robert Deathrage made famous with Meat Shits, expect done more convincingly. The samples are genuinely disturbing, though occasionally funny, and the music is a churning, grinding heavy mess. This is the kind of stuff that can only be enjoyed on headphones because you'd constantly be looking over your shoulders if you played it through speakers.)

WHORE - "Unfinished Business" CD (This is their first album. The guitar tone isn't as scuzzy as on the second album, but this is just as good. Rob's vocals are crazy, such a distinct sound. I hope he gets another project going soon, his releases are always great.)

WHORETORN - "Demo 2004" CDR (Whoretorn are an amazing violent grindcore band from France. Sadly, they only had two releases during their short existence, but both of them are terrific. Dav and I used to post on the Necroharmonic message board when it was up and running and that's how we started our friendship. We've never met, but we've communicated a lot via email and I consider him to be a friend and it started because of our appreciation of each other's musical output. Whoretorn sounded legitimately angry in the same way Dismembered Fetus did. I know from talking to Dav that they were an influence, but they have a different twist on that DF sound. Whoretorn are mostly fast and while their songs do have a lot of groove parts in them, there's not such a clear division of their riffs and noise parts like there was with Dismembered Fetus. The slower parts transition into the blasts a lot more fluidly. More important is the recording itself, and this recording is crummy in all the right ways. It's intense and immediate sounding, very "live" sounding, and when it gets to the blasting parts it's difficult to discern what's what. It dissolves into a mess, and I love it when recordings do that. This demo is intense, short and leaves you wanting more. I knew I wanted to do something with Whoretorn as soon as the first song was over. That sort of immediate response don't happen for me often, trust me.)

WHORETORN - "Hategrind Violence" CDR (This is the material that was released on the 3 way CD with C3L and Yeast Infection. They weren't entirely happy with how this sounded, said it was too clean, but it's only clean compared to their first demo. Most grind bands would love for their recordings to sound this extreme. The songs are faster this time around with fewer groovy parts. I like both releases about the same. I'm glad I had the chance to work with Whoretorn while they existed. They're one of the best bands I worked with on Mortville.)

HANK WILLIAMS AS "LUKE THE DRIFTER" - "Beyond the Sunset" CD (The booklet says this is the complete "Luke the Drifter" collection. Most of the vocals to these songs are spoken in sort of a preaching style. I like Hank okay, but I'm not into this CD at all. All of the songs sound exactly the same once the spoken parts start, each vocal delivered with the same cadence.)

BOB WILLS AND HIS TEXAS PLAYBOYS - "Kings of Western Swing: 25 Hits 1935-1945" CD (Big band country complete with yodeling. This is weird stuff, like a Betty Boop cartoon set in the old west. I like this, but I'm not sure why.)

DENNIS WILSON - "Pacific Ocean Blue" CD (Dennis was the first Beach Boy to release a solo album. Not only did nobody expect it to happen, they weren't prepared for how great it was. He's done some singing on Beach Boys albums before this, but since when do drummers release solo albums in which they're the singer? The songs are great, instrumentation is great and Dennis' vocals are emotional, soulful and wonderfully raspy, no doubt the result of years of drinking and smoking. There are moments on this album that are absolutely haunting, and it's generally accepted that this is the best of all BB solo albums. I'd go as far as to say it's better than a good lot of BB albums, too. There's a few songs that sound like Pink Floyd outtakes. For the longest time this was out of print. It didn't get reissued on CD until just a couple of years ago.)

GEORGE WINSTON - "Linus & Lucy: The Music of Vince Guaraldi" CD (The teacher in one of the classrooms I worked in years ago worked with pageants on the side. One year they were doing a Peanuts theme and she bought a bunch of Vince Guaraldi CDs to use in the show. She ended up giving them to me once she was finished with them because I asked to borrow them when she was finished. I've bought a couple of George Winston albums after this and they were all sorta new-agey ambient type stuff. While Vince Guaraldi mostly recorded as a trio, this CD is solo piano. These are all great renditions of Vince's work, but ultimately I'd rather be listening to the original versions instead. This is a good CD, but it fails to satisfy.)

WIPERS - "Wipers Box Set" CD1 (I didn't get into Wipers until a few years ago. I knew them from the great "River's Edge" soundtrack, but let's face it, after Burning Spear they had the worst song on that thing. I forgot all about them until Nirvana broke and Kurt talked about them all the time in interviews, but I never really got the appeal of Nirvana and by association was never interested in hearing anything else of theirs. Years later, maybe 7-8 years ago, I was visiting my friend Mike in Chicago and he had this box set sitting out. I picked it up, asked him about it and he put the first disc on. When he told me the set sold for $22 (or somewhere around that) I was interested enough to look into it when I returned home. I'm glad I did because I listen to all three of three discs quite often. This first CD has the "Is This Real?" LP, the "Alien Boy" EP and a couple of bonus tracks. Of the three discs in this set, this is the most "punk" sounding. The songs are both melodic and hard. The guitars are nice and crunchy and Greg's vocals are great, but more importantly is that the songs are well written, memorable and make nice use of dynamics. Just about every song on here is great.)

WIPERS - "Wipers Box Set" CD2 ("Youth of America" LP with bonus tracks. Big style change on this one, less punk, more experimental. The title track is a sprawling 10:27 of rock with layered sounds, spoken passages, etc. The rest of it is more or less the same style as the first disc, but a little more toned down and sonically cleaner. There are some great bizarre pieces on here, though, and the piano is a lovely touch.)

Day #301
WIPERS - "Wipers Box Set" CD3 (Contains the "Over the Edge" LP and loads of bonus songs. This is probably my favorite of the three. They regained some of the "fuzz" on this album and the songs are a lot angrier than before. The music is still written really well and is aggressive, melodic and dynamic all at once. Some of the guitar work on here is incredible, not from a technical stance, but for sheer listenability. The production is nice, too, clean yet abrasive. This stuff is great.)

WIRE - "Chairs Missing" CD* (I grabbed this after hearing Minutemen talk about them on their documentary and because Minor Threat covered one of their songs. I haven't really listened to it much since then because it wasn't what I was expecting. I'm not even sure what I was expecting, if anything. I'm listening to it today with fresh ears as I don't remember any of it. I think I could probably get into this if I spent more time with it. I have no idea how to describe the music, though. It's kind of punk, but not punk, in the same way The Stranglers are, but sound nothing like them.)

WIRE - "Pink Flag" CD* (Their first album, checked it out for the same reasons as the above album. I think I like this one a bit more, but I've listened to it more often. The minimal guitar and song structures are fun. Their influence on Minutemen is apparent in the choppy guitar playing. This one is wholly enjoyable.)

WITTHUSER & WESTRUPP - "Trips und Traume" CD (This was one of those grower albums for me. I didn't care for it much initially, but eventually came to love it. From the more mellow end of the krautrock spectrum, these guys played a kind of psychedelic, cosmic folk music, surely fueled by drug consumption. The instrumentation is pretty simple and the music is super laid back and spacey, at times bordering on bluesy. This is one of those CDs you can just put on and get lost in. I have another one of their albums on vinyl, but I haven't listened to it in ages. I need to spin it again.)

WOJCZECH - "Pulsus Letalis" CD (My friend Jason sent this to me a few months ago. I don't think I've listened to it before today because of this stupid A-Z thing. No clue where these guys are from and I've never heard of them outside of this release. I've sort of lost touch with what's going on in grindcore these days. This is just okay. The fast parts are decent, but the discordant bits between them don't do anything for me. The high Popeye vocals are weak, but the lows are pretty good. The recording is way too clean for my tastes, too. There's a Repulsion cover on here, but the rest of this CD doesn't sound as if they were an influence at all. I've written a pretty crummy synopsis, but this isn't anywhere as bad as I made it out to be. You'll have to forgive me, I've been listening to a lot of Tumor recently and they've reminded me how great grindcore can be. Everything else pales in comparison.)

LINK WRAY AND THE RAYMEN - "Mr. Guitar" CD1 (Listening to Link Wray and Little Richard always reminds me of John Waters' early movies. Who doesn't like being reminded of those? This early, twangy, instrumental guitar rock was all over his old movies. Link was one if the pioneers of electric guitar. I remember reading some shit once that said he would poke holes in the cones of his speakers for natural distortion and would build huge 12' tunnel-like extensions for his amp out of plywood for reverb. That's pretty crazy, but apparently he was looking for a certain sound that he couldn't obtain otherwise. He's also credited with the invention of the power chord. A lot of this is the kind of music you'd associate juvenile delinquency in the 50s, greaser stuff, but there's a lot of other stuff going on throughout. Some of this has vocals, on some songs the organ is the main focus, some of it sounds like the Ink Spots. This is a cool set of songs, but 63 songs and 140 minutes of this stuff is exhausting. Norton did a nice job with this release, though. The booklet is informative, the music sounds great and it even came with a "Link Wray Mr. Guitar" guitar pick which I lost behind my dresser for several years and didn't find again until I was packing to move into our new house.)

LINK WRAY AND THE RAYMEN - "Mr. Guitar" CD2 (See above.)

WRETCHED - "Lotta Per Vivere" CD (Wretched were a great Italian HC band that turned into a just okay HC band towards the end. The first couple of releases on this discography disc are great, though, especially their split 7" with Indigesti. The second half of this CD is pretty forgettable.)

Day #302
ROBERT WYATT - "Cuckooland" CD (Robert Wyatt was the drummer and vocalist for Soft Machine on their first few albums. He was a great drummer, too. He left the band for musical differences, then recorded some solo stuff before forming Matching Mole. At some point he was at a party the night before a recording session and fell out of a fourth story window becoming paralyzed from the waist down as a result. It ended his career as a drummer, but thankfully not as a musician. Robert's vocals are great, totally unique and distinct sounding. They're fragile, emotive, playful and funny. He's always surrounded himself with great musicians and has recorded some really decent albums after his accident. "Cuckooland" is a mixture of jazz, progressive and experimental. At 76 minutes it's a bit long, but it's entertaining the whole way through. The slower songs are my favorite because they're better suited to his unique vocals. The very 90s sounding keyboards on here dates this a bit, but it's a really good album.)

ROBERT WYATT - "The End of an Ear" CD (Robert's first solo album recorded in 1970 while he was still in Matching Mole. The music is mostly weird, free improvisation jazz with sort of "scat" like singing throughout. The song titles are all dedications to friends. I'm not really into free jazz, and most of this is without Robert's voice, so I don't find this to be very enjoyable.)

ROBERT WYATT - "EPs by Robert Wyatt" CD1* (This was released as a set of five MCDs. I downloaded it from a Russian download site years ago. This is some of his best stuff, Robert in more of a traditional song setting. His vocals sound better than ever on this set, especially on the 80s stuff.)

ROBERT WYATT - "EPs by Robert Wyatt" CD2 / DAEVID ALLEN - "Banana Moon" CD* (This CD starts off with some weird Doctor Who-like electronics for a few minutes before breaking into some very minimally arranged music. Things move into more modern territory after that with some hard driving dance music. Somehow, it still works. Robert's voice just kind of floats over the beat adding a spacey, ambient effect. Daevid Allen was a member of the original Soft Machine with Robert Wyatt. After playing a show in France there was a problem with his passport and he was denied re-entry into the UK, so he stayed there for a while and started up Gong. "Banana Moon" is his solo album from 1971 with members of Soft Machine and Spooky Tooth. It sounds like everyone was stoned when they recorded it. Must have seemed like a good idea at the time, I guess.)

ROBERT WYATT - "Rock Bottom" CD (Technically his second solo album, released in 1974, but Robert considers this to be his first. It was while working on this album he fell from the window and became paralyzed. The music on this is mostly really slow and somber. Like "Cuckooland", it suffers from that cheesy keyboard sound. Most people consider this to be one of his best albums, but I like the one right after it way more.)

ROBERT WYATT - "Ruth is Stranger Than Richard" CD (His third album sounds more organic than his second. The first half of the album is more upbeat, sort of rocking, bawdy songs. The second half is a little darker, more serious in tone. The piano sounds so much better than the keyboard does, I'm glad it gets used more on this release.)

WYOMING - "Fatherly Five-Oh" CDR (I'm not too sure the band name isn't FATHERLY FIVE-OH and I have this filed in the wrong section. It's not easy to tell from the cover. I'm all for people fucking around for 57 minutes being stupid, but I don't have to enjoy it. I love that music like this is being recorded and released, but I was ready to turn this off after 10 minutes. It's cheesy casio-core with distorted vocals and lyrics about whatever popped in their heads at the time: Tom Hanks, Hungry Man dinners, etc. This is pretty terrible.)

X - "Aspirations" LP, "Home is Where the Floor is" 7", "Live at the Civic" LP CDR* (Rupture's cover of "Hate City" led to to checking out X, the Australian band, mind you. I bought their "Home is Where the Floor is" 7" from Vacuum and liked it enough to check out their LP. The 7" is their 1978 demo pressed to wax, and it's the only existing release with the original line-up. One of the members came from Rose Tattoo, but they don't sound anything like them. This is hard driving punk rock, not boogie. "Aspirations" is a fucking masterpiece. It's solid gold from start to finish. The singer is also the guitarist and he does that playing mostly between vocal parts thing D. Boon did on the earliest Minutemen releases. This leaves the bass and drums to carry the songs for the most part, which is fine with me. The vocals and guitar are equally rough sounding, both with a lovely rasp that gives this more character than most bands. Sonically it's abrasive in a good way, but add superbly crafted songs and clever lyrics and you end up with this masterpiece. Its one of my favorite albums. I found the live LP in Colorado visiting friends. It's a bit more tame than the LP, but there are songs on it that aren't on "Aspirations". Not all of it fit on this disc, though.)

Day #303
X - "At Home With You" CD1 (I'm not sure how I found out about this one, but I didn't even know there was a second album until I saw it for purchase. Initially I was kind of disappointed in this one, especially after how much I spent on importing it from Australia, over 30 USD if I remember correctly, but it's really pretty good. It doesn't have that same punch "Aspirations" has and the songs are a little more songy, but everything I liked about their first album is here, just toned down a little. The recording is fuller, not exactly a good thing in their case, and there's even some trumpet overdubs, but these songs rock hard and that guitar sounds as scratchy as ever. There's a couple of ballad type songs on here that sound out of place, too, but even those are decent. Listening to this today I found it a lot better than I remembered.)

X - "At Home With You" CD2 (The second disc is a full live set, "Live at the Prince of Wales Melbourne 15 March 1985". The sound is pretty decent, song selection nice, audience response paltry. This is good, but I'd rather have spent $15 on a single CD version and just gotten the studio stuff, but that option didn't exist. Oh well...)

XHOL - "Altena 1970" CD (Xhol started out as Soul Caravan playing fairly straight forward soul music. They changed their name to Xhol Caravan and started playing wacked-out hippie jazz, then changed their name again to just Xhol. During their run, Xhol only released one album, but thanks to the great Garden of Delights label, some of their live stuff has been released on CD in recent years. I've said this before, but it warrants repeating: Garden of Delights is one of the greatest labels ever. They've not only dug up some great krautrock gems and made them available again, but their releases are usually packed with bonus songs and come with 40 page booklets with liner notes in both German and English, loads of pictures, etc. These booklets are so thick they barely fit in the jewel cases. I just wish they were less expensive, that's my only complaint. The sound on this CD is great, all of the instruments are well defined. They were very much a jam band at this point, very jazzy, all instrumental, similar to the third Soft Machine album. Great stuff... There's only 3 songs on this CD, two of which are over 35 minutes long. I'm not sure how they put 82 minutes of music on this CD, but they did.)

XHOL - "Hau-Ruk" CD (This one was recorded live, too, three long songs, all over 21 minutes in length. The sound is really good, comparable to the above CD. For the most part this is fairly mellow. At the end of the second song, the last on the album, you can hear Deep Purple on the house sound system after the band finishes their set. The last song on here sounds like it was recorded more recently in a studio and is a little more active than the others.)

XHOL CARAVAN - "Altena 1969" CD (Still brilliant. Have I mentioned Xhol Caravan are one of my favorite krautrock bands? I haven't, have I? They're one of the earliest, too. This is another posthumous live album from Garden of Delights. The sound is a little more distant sounding than the 1970 CD, but it sounds fine. Really jazzy, some vocals occasionally, shorter songs in comparison averaging around 10 minutes each, but the last song is 56 minutes long, so... There's quite a bit of their old soul style on this CD, still, and the guitar plays a larger role than on their later albums.)

XHOL CARAVAN - "Electrip" CD (This was the first one I picked up and it's probably my favorite. It's the most "rock" of their albums, too. The horn arrangements are awesome and have the same sort of Monday Night Football quality Out of Focus' "Four Letter..." 2LP has. This is considered to be one of the earliest examples of krautrock, and it's a high water mark within the genre.)

XHOL CARAVAN - "Motherfuckers GMBH & Co. KG" CD (This was their final release as a band, and the cover says "2 years old" on it, so it might not have even been released during their existence. The spine of my CD has this listed as "Xhol Caravan", but it was probably recorded and released after they dropped the "Caravan" from their name. Who cares? This is the strangest of all their releases, certainly the most experimental. They've lost most of the jazz influence on this one and just sort of jam out on cosmic rock ala Ash Ra Tempel, but with a harder edge. This sounds like something that was pieced together from leftover tracks, not a proper album, but enjoyable nonetheless.)

XTC - "Black Sea" CD* (I own most of my XTC stuff on vinyl, so a lot of the CDs I have are burned from downloads so I could listen to them in my car. My copy of this LP even has the printed black sleeve that goes over the album, I guess that's kind of rare as a lot of them were lost or thrown away. Anyway, this is a really good album. They've lost most of the punk sound by this album and what's left is great, quirky pop music. I listen to XTC quite often, but for some reason I hardly ever listen to this one. Sounds great today.)

XTC - "Drums & Wires" CD* (I was a huge Oingo Boingo fan in high school. One of my friends suggested to me that most of the people who liked Boingo also liked XTC. He claimed their music was similar and insisted I check them out. I don't know about other people, but when I'm told one of my favorite bands sounds like another band I view it as an attack on their originality and go out of my way making sure I don't listen to them. I'm an asshole like that. It was a good many years before I finally got around to listening to them, possibly because of Primus covering "Making Plans for Nigel" from this album. This was the second album I picked up after "White Music", and it's one of my favorites. Very poppy, quirky and catchy. These songs are complex, memorable and sonically perfect.)

Day #304
XTC - "English Settlement" CD* (More often than not this is my favorite XTC album. There were 5 singles from this album. Compared to their earlier stuff it's more toned down and mellow. There's a lot of acoustic guitar on here, more so than electric even. I bought the double LP version of this years ago for $4.00 or less. So many great songs...)

XTC - "Go2" CD* (Their second album, not quite as good as their debut. This album cover ranks up there as one of my all time favorites. If you haven't seen it, look it up. My vinyl copy has some text missing from the back, so it can only be read in it's entirety if you pull out the poster inside and lay the corner of it over the place where the text is missing.)

XTC - "In Motion" CDR* (One of my friends burned this for me years ago. I have cool friends, friend's that just send me stuff because they like sharing music. Thanks, Ian. The first few tracks are from a BBC broadcast from the "White Music" era. The sound is pretty good, but it sounds as if it's been filtered to remove hiss eliminating the highs in the process. The rest of the disc is made up of demos of songs up to "Black Sea"-era, some sound better than other, but all are enjoyable.)

XTC - "Mummer" CD (This is the most recent XTC stuff I've heard. I didn't care for this album, so I didn't explore their catalog any further. I read yesterday that their album after this one is more rock sounding, so maybe I shouldn't have written them off like I did. Even when compared to "English Settlement" this album is really mellow, and I guess I like a little more muscle behind my pop music. "Love on a Farmboy's Wages" is a great song, "Jump" was pretty enjoyable, too. I think if I listened to this a few more times I could probably get into it.)

XTC - "Transistor Blast" CD3* (I got this from the same guy who sent me "In Motion". This is a live set from the BBC with fantastic sound. It's one of the best sounding live albums I've heard, recorded 15 months after they formed, so it's all songs from "White Music" and back.)

XTC - "Transistor Blast" CD4* (Another live set, judging from the song selection I'm guessing it was recorded between "Drums & Wires" and "Black Sea". Again, the fidelity is excellent, performances are spotless. Great stuff.)

XTC - "White Music" CD (Their debut. I used to have this on LP, but I bought the CD because it had so many bonus tracks on it and ended up giving the vinyl copy to my friend Greg. I wish I still had it now. This is their most "punk" sounding record. It's fast, aggressive and hard-charging most of the time. The bonus tracks are great, too.)

XXX MANIAK - "Harvesting the Cunt Nectar" CD (I don't remember how I got this, but I know I didn't buy it. I don't think the band sent it to me, either. This is pretty stupid. Somehow it's less stupid when bands like Whore, Fornicator, Gut and Meat Shits do stuff like this, but only because they're so good at it. The older I get the more stupid I find this sort of woman hating, "brutal" grindcore played by nerdy kids who've probably never even touched a boob. These samples have been used on dozens of albums before, the music isn't very good and the cover art is among the dumbest I've seen. This has been the only CD I've listened to today that hasn't been great. Leave it to shitty grindcore to fuck up my winning streak.)

XYSMA - "Deluxe" CD (These guys are great. Not only did they record some of the greatest grindcore ever, their rock albums are awesome, too. The think I love about them is that no two of their albums sound alike. The progression was abrupt at first, but slowed down eventually. This one and "Lotto" sound fairly similar, actually, but the others are all different. Just when you got used to them being a full-blown rock band they go and drastically change their vocal style. Janitor still screams through most of this album, though. "Deluxe" is a very abrasive hard rock album with lots of groove, great vocals and the occasional organ part. It's one of my favorite albums of theirs. I picked this up from Relapse for $1.00. People are fucking stupid.)

XYSMA - "Girl on the Beach" CD (Their final album, released in 1998. This one took some effort to track down. It wasn't terribly popular here in the states, so I couldn't find anyplace here that stocked it. I ended up ordering it from a Finnish rock website with my credit card which prompted Visa to call my wife at work because they figured my care had been stolen. Next to "Singles", this is their most straight forward rock album. The vocals are completely scream/growl free at this point and there's even a Beach Boys cover on here. Lots of interesting textures going on during the songs via guitar effects, organ, and other unidentifiable sounds. Great album all around, just universally hated by metalheads.)

XYSMA - "Lotto" CD (I got this is a trade with Relapse. They typically traded their CDs as 3 or 4 points meaning each CD had the same value as 3 or 4 7"s. This was in their trade list as 1 point, so I got it for around $3.00. There's still quite a bit of aggro on this one. The metal sound has completely dried up, but it's pretty angry sounding and the vocals still have a lot of bite to them. My wife loves this CD, as do I.)

XYSMA - "Singles" CD (This CD was the hardest one to track down. I looked for it for years before I finally broke down and bought a copy through Spinefarm. I always assumed because this was their most pop sounding release it was their last album, but it was released before "Girl on the Beach". I also thought at one point, before I heard it, it was a collection of singles, but it's not. It's listed as an EP, but it's 60 minutes long. Janitor is singing like a pop star at this point, and they even cover a Frankie Valli song on this album. There's some added string arrangements on here that are a nice touch. There's a version of "Sure About You" that dissolves into 30 minutes of keyboard and ambient noises.)

Day #305
XYSMA - "Singles / The Witch" CDR* (I downloaded both of these and burned them. I kept this even after I found "Singles" on CD because I was never able to track down "The Witch" 7" for a reasonable price. "The Witch" is one original song and a Sonics cover, both are great.)

XYSMA - "Swarming of the Maggots / Fata Morgana / Above the Mind of Morbidity" CD (This was released as part of a 2CD set with their first two albums on the other disc. All of their septic gore releases fit on this one CD, yet that's what they're most known for. Even within this CD all three releases sound like different bands. The level of progression from one record to the next is amazing. The "Swarming of the Maggots" demo is super noisy with over the top pitch-shifted vocals that overpower everything. The songs are mostly pretty simple, two parts each with noise blasts. "Fata Morgana", their first 7", shows a marked progression in song writing and in production quality. The songs went from being around 1:30 on their demo to as long as 6:00 with several parts, time changes, etc. This 7" is my favorite of their old grindcore releases. "Above the Mind of Morbidity" isn't as interesting and suffers from thin production. The song writing is fine, but the recording doesn't have the same power the previous two recordings had. Xysma were a great grindcore band, but they were a better rock band, in my opinion.)

Day #307
XYSMA - "Yeah / First and Magical" CD ("Yeah" was their first full-length album. It's probably my least favorite. I've always liked it, though, and today it sounds better than ever. I think the odd sounding drums are what drags this album down a bit. All of the grindcore in their sound is gone by this time and they're more or less a death metal band, but there's hints of what's to come in their later rock albums on this one, even. It's by no means a bad album, it's just not as good as what came before and after it. "First and Magical" was the only release I couldn't find a download of before buying them all on CD, so it was new to me when I got this set. It's more "death and roll" (fuck, I hate that description) in style. The vocals are still very aggressive, but the music is well on it's way to turning into straight rock music.)

XYSMA - "On a Cartrip Through Sweden" Reh Demo 1989
"5/15/1989 Rehearsal"
"Live, Jyrkka, Turku Finland 3/26/1989"
VAGINAL JESUS - "Non-CD tracks"
DEMOLISH - "Demo 1995"
INTESTINAL DISEASE - "Raped Inside Your Fault" 7" CDR* (I think this first Xysma demo was actually released under the name Repulse. This earliest stuff is awesome, really raw and noisy and they hadn't introduced the pitch shifter at this point. It sounds like shit, but there's worse sounding stuff with less historical importance pressed to CD and vinyl today. Someone should bootleg this stuff. When Tri-State Terror released that Vaginal Jesus CD they omitted some of the songs that weren't overtly racist. These songs aren't particularly good or worth seeking out, but they're okay. One of them is the same as a song on the CD, but with a reggae intro. The others are just blasphemous "Death to Christ" type songs. Demolish were a great Canadian grindcore band that existed for one demo and a few compilation trax. They existed between Thinkshit and Dahmer and had members of both bands. This is really angry sounding, crusty grindcore. Intestinal Disease were from Belgium, I believe. They released a bunch of stuff, including this 7" on Psychomania in 1993. Fast, short and noisy grind songs and lots of them. This is one of their better releases.)

YACØPSÆ - "Discoregraphy" CD1 (RSR released this great 2CD set of Yacøpsæ's earliest recordings. I have all of the vinyl releases on here already, but there's a ton of demo, rehearsal and live stuff I wouldn't have heard otherwise. Right away Stoffel's signature guitar sound is present, even on the first rehearsal tape. The drummer and guitarist both played in Tumor at one point. I think both bands were happening simultaneously, but they joined up at the end. Yacøpsæ played really fast and noisy hardcore with angry screamed vocals. They became extremely tight and fast very quickly, so much so that it sounds inhuman. Their earliest stuff is my favorite, when they still sounded like human beings. Their first couple of vinyl releases are among my favorite records ever. This whole first CD is great, all 99 tracks of it.)

YACØPSÆ - "Discoregraphy" CD2 (The material on this CD is still really great. They kind of stop sounding like the Yacøpsæ on the first disc around their split 10" with Rot. It's still really fast and angry sounding, but it sounds like a different band. Towards the end they start doing those tight clean stops more often. I've always found those to be annoying for some reason.)

YACØPSÆ - "Fastcoregraphy" CD (This CD collects their "Fuck Punk Rock..." 10", the LP on Slap a Ham, their split w/ Sanity's Dawn and probably some other stuff I can't remember. The 10" was the last recording I was really into. The rest of this CD is okay, but I've reached burnout point with Yacøpsæ today.)

YACØPSÆ - "Pop-Punk Alienation" CD (After recording do many pop-punk covers over the years they recorded a whole album of very straight pop-punk and indie rock covers. I don't know why I thought I would like this. I don't listen to pop punk or indie rock and I don't recognize any of these songs on here.)

YATHA SIDHRA - "A Meditation Mass" CD (One of the better zone-out, trippy krautrock releases. I'm at the end of my shift and I'm cutting this short, but this is a great album.)

Day #308
YDI - "Out For Blood" CD (One of the few HC bands fronted by a black guy, and probably the most brutal HC ever from Philly. This discography CD is great. The demo and 7" are both really angry sounding hardcore, like the bastard son of old Nihilistics and Cyanamid. The later stuff on here is a bit slower, kind of like "My War" era Black Flag, with songs that sometimes hit the 4 minute mark. The vocalist is crazy sounding, his voice is really gravelly and rough. Most of this stuff is awesome.)

YEAST INFECTION - "2003 CDR Advance, for 7/10/03 Show Only" CDR (This the same recording that ended up on the 3 way CD with C3L and Whoretorn. They ran off some copies to give out at one of their shows. Ace recorded this stuff at home on his 8 track and it sounds really good. In fact, I prefer this recording over their full-length they recorded in the studio. Ace's vocals sound as angry as ever and musically this sounds like a cleaned up version of Dismembered Fetus with better song writing. He hated being compared to Dismembered Fetus, it was the measuring stick all of his projects had to live up to, but the riffs are similar. There's a lot of playing a riff fast, then playing the same riff slow with a double snare pop. All of my bands kind of sound the same, too, no big deal. I've always thought Yeast Infection was better executed than Dismembered Fetus, though, even if it wasn't quite as intense.)

YEAST INFECTION - "Just Ain't Right" CD (Yeast Infection started out as a noisecore band in the early 90s. They broke up, then reformed playing something similar to old-Agathocles and recorded a demo in 1993. The drummer moved to Nebraska and they broke up again. Around 2001 or so they decided to dust the project off and start doing it again and released this CD. Compared to the above CD, this sounds a lot smoother and less powerful. It certainly sounds better, but better isn't always what's appropriate for the music. This is a solid CD, though.)

YEAST INFECTION - "Promo 2001" CDR (I can't remember if this came out before or after "This Ain't Right", but I want to say before. It was recorded quickly on their 8 track and sounds pretty rough, but awesome. There are three songs on here, all as one track, and they're faster than the songs on their full-length CD.)

YEAST INFECTION - "Say Hi to God" CDR (This is a posthumous collection released by their guitarist on his Get Up and Kill label. It has the songs from the 3 way, some of the tracks from "Just Ain't Right" and a few rehearsal tracks from their second promo disc. I was a little pissed they put the songs for the 3 way on here and released it before my CD came out, but I'm over it now. I actually ended up taking their songs from this CD for the 3 way because they sounded better than the mastered version the sent me. The label might still have copies of this for sale.)

YEAST INFECTION - "Yeast Infection Promo" CDR (This is a different promo than the "2003 Promo". This was their second and they only made a handful of them. Mine is copy #16 of 35. It was recorded during rehearsal and sounds pretty good. I got to sit in on a couple of their rehearsals on one of my trips to Denver. Listening to this CD brings back a lot of memories.)

YELLO - "Solid Pleasure" CD (I bought this because it was released on Ralph Records. This CD version I have was released on Mercury. I didn't find out until recently that this was the same band that recorded that "Oh Yeah" song made famous in "Ferris Beuller's Day Off". They're an electronic duo from Switzerland playing kind of new wave, dance and synth pop stuff. One of the guys, Dieter Meier, released a great punk 7" in 1978 called "Cry for Fame" backed by the band Fresh Color, but there's nothing punk about this CD. It's difficult to describe, but it fits right in with the other Ralph bands, though it's more polished and slick sounding than what the other Ralph bands were doing in 1980. I wasn't really into this enough to want to check out any of their other releases. This is my first time listening to it in years and it still doesn't grab me.)

YEN POX - "Blood Music" CD (I don't know a heck of a lot about dark ambient, but I really like the few CDs I have of that genre. This is one of my favorites. It's 71 minutes of chilling soundscapes. There's not much to elaborate on, I'm afraid. This was just reissued recently with a bonus disc. I'd like to pick that up someday.)

YES - s/t CD (I quite like Yes. One of the problems I have with a lot of progressive rock is that the albums usually have one brutal song that really rocks, then follow it up with a bunch of mellow shit. The rock to mellow ratio is higher with Yes, especially on their next few albums. This CD is great, a solid debut. That bass sound is incredible.)

YES - "Close to the Edge / Fragile" CDR* (I have both of these on vinyl. "Close to the Edge" was the first Yes album I heard. It drove me nuts trying to figure out who the vocals reminded me of. It eventually dawned on me that it sounded like Sting on the first couple of Police records. I liked it even more once I made that connection for some reason. "Fragile" is the last album I really got into.)

YES - "The Yes Album" CD (This one is awesome, too. Nearing the end of my work day, no more writing about music today...)

Day #309
YOUTH OF TODAY - "Plus Bonus Tracks" CD (This is a bootleg discography CD released in the 90s by some underground superstar. I promised I'd keep his secret and I'm a man of my word. This is missing the "Disengage" EP, but I think it's fairly complete other than that. I'm not that big of a fan, so I really couldn't say for sure. There's a bunch of live tracks on the end as a bonus. I like Youth of Today okay, I guess. Ray's vocals are funny, but the songs are memorable.)

Z'CREEMIN' HOTT - "Flogged by the Bastard" CDR (I think I might have listened to this once before today. I'm a lot more open to rock music now, spoof or otherwise, than when I got it years ago. Released by Onion Mind Games, featuring Poopy Necroponde, this straddles the fence between traditional heavy metal and sleazy cock rock. It's sorts like the template for Hep*Z, but more metal and less silly. I think if this was legit I wouldn't care for it as much, but it's fun playing this tounge-in-cheek rock stuff. Occasionally it's kind of sloppy, but the singer is pretty convincing. The guitars are nice and crunchy and the production sounds great. I can't believe I've had this as long as I have and haven't been listening to it.)

ZILLATRON - "Lord of the Harvest" CD (Basically an extension of Praxis, this Bill Laswell produced project features Bootsy Collins and Buckethead and doesn't sound too different than "Transmutations". I don't remember who the other players are offhand, but this is great. The bass playing and bass sounds are phenomenal, heavier than anything Bootsy's recorded before or after. It's a concept album of sorts, but who knows what it's about? Who cares?)

ZIPPO ZETTERLINK - s/t CD (This CD is great, one of the most raw and primitive krautrock recordings ever. It's bluesy, hard psychedelic rock jamming with a rough recording that suits the music perfectly. The opening 20 minute track is the best, total freak-out stuff, but the rest sorta falls short. Either way, the first track is worth checking this out for.)

ZOMBI - "Cosmos" CD (I saw Zombi on this tour. I can't remember who they played with, but I didn't go to see Zombi. We got there early, were turned away when we walked up to the bar. The bartender asked "Are you in the band?" and I responded with "I'm in A band." We went down the street to a different bar and got drunk before the show, then my friend Crow ended up sleeping through Zombi's set, the band he specifically went to see. Zombi were great. They're an instrumental duo that does soundtrack-like synth music. Imagine a cross between Tangerine Dream's Virgin years and late 70s Goblin. I'm a few albums behind with these guys, but I love the CDs I have. This one is probably my favorite.)

ZOMBI - "Surface to Air" CD (This one is solid, too. I didn't like it immediately like I did "Cosmo", but it quickly grew on me. The last song, "Night Rhythms", is stellar. I love sequencers and it's full of them.)

ZOMBI - "The Zombi Anthology" CD (The band released this collection of early material themselves after they signed to Relapse. The biggest difference is the absence of acoustic drums. Everything is done with a drum machine on this CD. Stylistically it's similar to "Cosmos". I'm sure this is sold out by now, I'm glad I bought one when I did.)

ZOMBIE HATE BRIGADE - s/t CD (I wonder if these guys had any regret concerning their choice of name once zombies became ultra trendy. There's a "Zombie Burger" restaurant here in Iowa and I can't roll my eyes hard enough. Anyway, two of these guys were in Festering Puke, one of them was in Adnauseum. This is really good death metal from Colorado with funny choices of samples (not the same tired shit you hear time and again) that break things up nicely, solid playing and a great recording. They're really nice guys, too, that helps. It's hard not to like these guys.)

ZOMBIE HATE BRIGADE - "Hideous Beyond Belief" CD (Their second CD is much shorter, only 14 minutes, and it's just as much fun as the first one is. Those fucking samples, man, haha... Things sound a little tighter than before, but the song writing is consistent, recording quality, too. They have a new CD out now. I need to pick one up.)

ZOOGZ RIFT - "Five Billion Pinheads Can't be Wrong" CD* (Most of my Zoogz stuff I own on LP. I found "Son of Puke" on cassette at a pawn shop when I was in middle school and didn't like it. Years later I bought "Island of Living Puke" on LP and loved it. Years after that I was at a Cheapo's in Minneapolis and found 6 or 7 of his LPs still in the shrink-wrap, but cut-out for $4.00 each and bought them all. Zoogz Rift was a 300+ pound artist, singer, guitarist and future professional wrestler. His music is like a punk/tardcore version of Frank Zappa. It's complex, noisy at times, sometimes funky and always strange. It's weird, but I've never been able to get into Zappa, but I love Zoogz.)

Day #310
ZOOGZ RIFT - "Murdering Hell's Happy Cretins" CD* (Half of this is album was recorded live in West Germany. It's pretty straight sounding compared to some of his other releases. The sound is pretty good and they playing is excellent. The Shitheads were s good band, Zoogz surrounded himself with great musicians. The other half of this is studio stuff, the same goofy dada, prog-punk weirdness I've come to expect. SST seems like such a strange label to have released this stuff. I'm not sure it would have really been at home on any label, though.)

ZOOGZ RIFT - "Nonentity (Water III: Fan Black Dada)" CD* (I don't like this one as well as some of his others. It's more mellow and less interesting. Still good, especially on the longer tracks, but not one of his best.)

ZOOGZ RIFT - "Villagers" CD* (This is one of his later non-SST albums. Consistently good, still very funky and complex. I love that there's so much xylophone on these albums. It's not something you hear often enough in rock music.)

JOHN ZORN - "The Big Gundown" CD (As a teenager I owned a bunch of John Zorn CDs, maybe 10 or more. Over the years I've whittled it down to just this one CD and a couple of Naked City CDs. Once I got deeper into grindcore I just lost interest in him, this coupled with my theory that he was slumming it in Naked City to show how easy it was. One by one his released disappeared from my collection, but I've always really liked this one. I bought this without even knowing who Morricone was. This CD is a tribute to the Italian composer and it's great. I can even overlook the skronking sax Zorn forced into nearly every song. Zorn did a nice job with the arrangements, but these songs are great because Morricone is a genius. They're suspenseful, tense, dynamic and unpredictable. You'd come away from listening to the original recordings with the same elation, possibly more so. That said, this is great, and it got me listening to more of Morricone's work.)

ZZ TOP - "Degüello" CD (There was a whole pile of these at Wal Mart for $5.00 a few months ago. I hope that's an indication that their old album will finally be reissued properly with the original mixes, not that they're just going out of print. This is one of the few CDs that didn't suffer the fate of the remix/remaster job that happened after the success of "Eliminator". Everything was EQed to squash all of the live sound out of the drums to try to give them more of an electronic sound. Some of their albums have never been issued on CD with the original mix even to this day. "Degüello" is great, probably their last great full-on rock album. I used to love ZZ Top as a kid, but I've developed an even deeper appreciation for their music as an adult.)

ZZ TOP - "Fandango" CD (This was one of two albums that finally got reissued with the original mix. Half of it is live, half studio. The live tracks are fun, but once you hear them a couple of times you really just want more studio stuff. This was released quickly to cash in on the success of "Tres Hombres", before a full studio album could be completed, but don't consider this a throw away. This CD sounds amazing, and the studio songs are some of their greatest ever. There's some bonus live stuff on here that's a welcome addition, too.)

ZZ TOP - "Rio Grande Mud" CD (I was going to hold out on buying this one until the original mix was reissued, but I found it for $5.00. For that price I can buy it again and give this one to someone else. Today is my first time listening to the CD. I've had mp3s of the vinyl rip for a few years now and loved it. This was their second album and it's a little mote rockin', less bluesy, than their debut, which is also great. "Koko Blue" is one of my favorite ZZ Top songs, but there are a lot of great songs on here. This mix, though... It's not terrible and I could live with it had the original mix not existed, but it really does sound a lot different than the LP. It's the only one I've been able to do a comparison with and the difference is shocking. The music doesn't sound updated any, it just sounds weird. It'll do in a pinch, but I'm looking forward to replacing it eventually.)

ZZ TOP - "Tres Hombres" CD (This was the impulse purchase that got me into them again. A couple of years I rode with my dad to Arkansas to visit my grandmother and while on the drive he played "ZZ Top's Greatest Hits". I found this at Borders and picked it up thinking he'd want to listen to it on the drive back home. He didn't, had no interest in it, but I listened to it almost constantly for a month once we got back home. Even with the overexposed radio songs this is a masterpiece, easily their best album. With the exception of "Hot, Blue and Righteous" every song on here is great and this reissue sounds amazing. There's some live stiff added as bonus tracks which are great, too. ZZ Top knocked it out of the park with this one and each album that followed was less interesting, in my opinion. Fuck, this is good, though.)

v/a - "3 Way Grind Assault From Pittsburgh" CDR (Unkel Fister, Antigenic Speedshift and Vas Deferens. Someone gave this to me the year I went to the Maryland Deathfest. I'm positive I haven't listened to it until now. I got a lot of CDs at MDF I never listened to. Rather than talk shit about these bands, I'll just keep my mouth shut and stop for the day.)

Day #311
v/a - "3 Way Armageddon" CD (Nuclear Devastation from Italy, C.S.S.O. from Japan and Total Fucking Destruction from USA. I listened to the Nuclear Devastation tracks last night and I can't remember what they sound like at all today. C.S.S.O.'s trax are live, but they're great. I know it's unfair to compare then to Butcher ABC, but I really miss C.S.S.O.. It's unfortunate their guitarist cant do it anymore. Some or all of TFD's songs sound like they came from their "Compact Disc Version 1.0" CD, which was a collection of demos.)

v/a - "4 Way Split" CD (Round Flat Records was a distro I used to order from quite a bit in high school. They carried a lot of cut-out stuff for cheap, lots of old metal and punk tapes. I think this was the only CD they released. It's a collection of 4 live flexis from Headfirst, Citizens Arrest, Go! and Profax. I bought this for the Citizens Arrest stuff, but Go! ended up being the best band on here. I've never heard of Headfirst outside of this CD. They sound pretty typical of those HC bands from the late 80s and early 90s. Not my thing. Citizens Arrest are really sloppy on here. I think I read somewhere that they didn't play out all that often, like 8-10 times maybe. I don't know if that's true or not. Their records sound great, everything is really tight, but I've heard 3 or 4 of their live shows and they've all been really sloppy. It's unlikely they just had a bad show each time. Anyway, at one point Daryl asks the sound guy for more reverb to be added to his vocals, haha. I don't think I've ever heard anyone ask for more reverb at a hardcore show before. That struck me as funny today. Go! are great on here, really tight, funny and powerful. They were one of the best HC bands in the 90s, from New York or elsewhere. Mike's vocals sound like a bullhorn, he sings with total authority. Profax are from France, I think. They're pretty terrible.)

v/a - "The 7 Inch Wonders of the World" CD (This CD is awesome. It's a collection of old SST 7"s, some that have appeared elsewhere, like Black Flag, Minutemen, but Overkill, Meat Puppets and Würm were new to me when I got this and I was blown away by all three of them, especially Overkill. Hüsker Dü are on here, too, but I'm not really into their tracks.)

v/a - "60s Beat Italiano" CD (I like these regional CDs that collect music from a specific era. I have a few of them, and while they usually have their fair share of clunkers, there's always something interesting on them. I traded some C3L tapes with AON, a Bulgarian tape label, and one of the things he sent me was the Jaguars / Corvi - split tape, a collection of singles from the two Italian garage rock bands. I only picked it to trade because I ran out of other stuff I wanted. That tape led to me buying the Nuggets box and a bunch of other garage stuff, including this CD. Corvi are on this CD, they're the only band I recognize. There's a lot of cool songs on here and most of it sounds pretty good. The booklet is thick with lots of liner notes and photos.)

Day #314
v/a - "100% Uniao" CD (This is a late 90s compilation with all South American HC and noisecore bands. T.P.M. are a terrible female fronted punk with squeaky vocals. Parental Advisory play gruff HC that borders on grindcore. Nice throaty vocals and occasional blastbeats. Disturbio Mental play ultra lo-fi noisy punk. They sound like an old Italian HC band. F.C.S. do pretty typical crusty hardcore, but their tracks are recorded well and played with conviction. Dischord are even crustier, less interesting. NYAB are great, of course. Totally stupid short-song noisecore. Plague Rages play totally rough sounding grindcore. Pure Noise are, well, pure noise.)

v/a - "American Primitive Volume II: Pre-War Revenants 1897-1939" CD1 (I've always had an interest in roots music and it doesn't get much more "roots" than this. I don't own a lot of stuff like this, but a friend of mine tipped me off that this was selling on eBay for $6.00. It's a 2CD set of pre-war folk and blues packaged in a hardbound book with extensive notes. It's really something to look at, a lot of work went into designing it. You have to build up a tolerance to surface noise to listen to this stuff, though. These were all sourced from fragile acetates and some of them sound dreadful. I'm used to that kind of noise on collections like this now, but some of the oldest songs on here are almost inaudible because of the noise. It's amazing these recordings exist at all, though. Some of this stuff is better than others, but it's all enjoyable. I'm glad I picked this up.)

v/a - "American Primitive Volume II: Pre-War Revenants 1897-1939" CD2 (More of the same, though not as many terrible sounding transfers.)

v/a - "Back to Mono (1958-1969)" CD1 (I found this as a cut-out in an outlet mall for cheap. It sells for a lot of money now. This was a big deal when it was released because the original versions of these songs had been out of print for years. I guess these versions still aren't 100% faithful to the originals, but it's close enough for me. My interest in Phil Spector started with my love of Beach Boys. Brian Wilson talked about him all the time, about how much he idolized his production techniques. I learned later that Spector studied under Lee Hazelwood and basically just ripped off his sound. You can't blame him for that, but how about credit where credit is due? Phil was responsible for a big chunk of "teenager" music, though, and this stuff does sound great. Ronnie Spector doesn't come in until the second disc. After the first few tracks this picks up with the great girl group stuff he's known for. The Crystals and Darlene Love are the standouts on this first disc, but there's some good stuff outside of those two including an early Ben E. King song and some Gene Pitney. "He Hit Me (It Felt Like a Kiss)" provides the biggest wtf moment of this disc. What the fuck were they thinking?)

v/a - "Back to Mono (1958-1969)" CD2 (Girl groups dominate this disc, and it's the best of the set because of it. The "Wall of Sound" is in full effect on these recordings, everything washed in reverb.)

v/a - "Back to Mono (1958-1969)" CD3 (The Righteous Brothers make up at least half of this disc. The Ronettes are on here a bunch, too, but not nearly as often as on the second disc. I'm not too big on The Righteous Brothers. The Ike & Tina Turner songs on here are are the standouts of this disc. Tina can fucking sing like no one else.)

v/a - "Be a Freak Compilation" CDR (Between Stupidity Records and Razorback, Billy did Be a Freak Records. He released this on cassette as his introduction to his new label with liner notes that said this would be his only cassette release and he wanted to do CDs and vinyl and was going to release whatever he felt like releasing instead of being tied down to just one genre. He released the Lord Zillablaster / Earwigs - split 7" after this, then started up Razorback and pretty much exclusively released party/goregrind CDs from then on out. So much for diversity... R.O.N.F. reissued the tape a few years back, but missing a few tracks, I think. The original tape was 90 minutes, this CD is only 80. This CD is great, though, filled with 90s underground noise and goofball acts. I can't believe Billy threw away everything he had built with Stupidity Records and Be a Freak to release dozens of gore/thrash records that are totally interchangeable, same stupid cartoony artwork on every release, etc. It would have been awesome if he would have passed his masters and artwork for his old noisecore releases on to someone else who could have kept them in circulation instead of letting them disappear into obscurity like he did, but this is "kid's stuff", I guess. Thankfully labels like R.O.N.F. have taken on the role of archivist instead. This shit's too good to just disappear forever. Like Billy says at the beginning of this CD, "Death metal fucking sucks, noise forever.")

B.G.T. - s/t 7"
NAUSEA (Japan) - "4 Song Demo"
NEANDERTHAL - "Complete Fighting Music" 7"
DECHE-CHARGE - "Metal Deche Cores Fuck Off" Demo #1
(Brutal Glöckel Terror were one of the earliest noisecore bands from Germany and the first noisecore band from East Germany. Their one and only 7" was released in 1989 and is the personification of the German noisecore style. Silly vocals, poorly played riff followed by a blast of noise and screaming. They recorded a demo in 1991 that was later put to vinyl, but it's more structured, less noisy. Carcass Grinder were a grind/fastcore band from Japan. They were great, but had a bad habit of releasing the same songs on multiple releases. Violent Headache are one of my favorite bands ever and this split with CG is one of their better releases. I forget now, but I think Nausea are pre-Unholy Grave. It's something I found on soulseek. Neanderthal are pre-M.I.T.B., everyone reading this will know who they are. This first D-C demo doesn't sound anything like the band people know them as. They didn't develop their trademark sound until a few demos in. This one is really stupid, almost tardcore. It's awesome. Psycho trax are from their faster more metal sounding days. Satan's Warriors is one of Seth Putnam's old bands. The singer sounds like the guy from Vaginal Jesus. It's probably the same dude.)

v/a - "The Blasting Concept- An SST Compilation" CD (There's a lot of overlap between this and "The 7" Wonders of the World" CD, but on it's own this is a pretty good CD. There's no exclusive material on here, though, and unlike the other SST comp, the releases don't appear in here their entirety. Its like a sampler of the early years. It's a good collection of songs, but redundant if you own the other CD. I won't complain about having to listen to these songs again, though.)

v/a - "Bllleeeeaaauuurrrrgghhh!- the CD" CD (I don't think this was an official reissue. It was released on a Mexican label called Goatsucker. This compiles all three volumes of the 7" compilation series. I have all three records and listened to them 100's of times in the 90's. They're still great and hold up well today. I was a little annoyed with the last installment because it had bands that typically didn't play short songs doing short songs specifically for that record. I mean, how in the fuck did Noothgrush have a 5 second doom song? Anyway, I'm over it now. Who gives a shit?)


Stereo Stations said...

"Everything else pales in comparison[to Tumor]."
That's a fact!

gamma693 said...

They're simply one of the greatest grind/noise bands ever. Totally underappreciated.


Really enjoyed reading these 'reviews'. Couldn't agree more w/your assessement of the Stupidity/Be A Freak shit. What a shame.


Thirded on the Billy Nocera shit. I was listening to a TLLN demo recently and it's simultaneously sad and hilarious, the total 180 he did. Sellout faggot.